Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Be Mine Tonight…..


Happy St. Valentine’s Day. And if you’re over here, you may be wondering how we celebrate here at the Manse.

Well, things have changed over the years. There were the boozy bar days, giddy restaurant phase, intimate dinners, parties with friends… . tonight we’re having my in-laws over for dinner as it is my mother-in-law’s birthday tomorrow and I’m already previously committed.

“What!” you say.

Yes. Dinner with the in-laws. But that’s great! Valentine’s Day — like St. Patrick’s Day– is a day to stay in, as far as I’m concerned. But that doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel and order pizza (we used to. Pizza and Champagne evenings were common in the pre-Manse days. We burned more calories then.)

Instead, I suggest you set a table for two somewhere different from your everyday dinner space. Then whip up something out of the ordinary. Or pick up some lobster ravioli and a claw at Trader Joe’s. A little paddlefish roe and some Champagne, candlelight … all the fun, none of the crowds.

And don’t forget to dress. My kit this evening will be grey slacks, a white shirt, a black silk and cotton cable knit sweater and black Belgians. If you’ve got the time, go formal at home!

Please remember, there will be high spirits tonight. If you do venture out this evening, call a cab. The same thing applies to St. Patrick’s Day.

5 thoughts on “Be Mine Tonight…..

  1. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too! One year when we were in grad school I prepared an elaborate Japanese dinner (beginning with sushi ordered from a restaurant down the street) and laid it out on our coffee table, with cushions on which to sit. There was candlelight and traditional Japanese music and warm sake and frozen mochi for dessert. When my husband walked in–he’d had a hellish long day and a slog to and from his office in a stinging icy rain–he was astonished and overwhelmed and, above all, delighted. I’d been chastising myself for having taken so much trouble over a single dinner, but it was very much worth it in the end.

    Tonight we’ll be having filet and lobster (cliched, I know, but I couldn’t pass up a sale) and a good Chateau-neuf-de-Pape in front of the fire. And I will try my hand at making pommes Anna with some duck fat I’ve been hoarding (though without the special copper pan–they are expensive and hard to come by). But yes, there was a time when Chicago stuffed pizza and a bottle of champagne were a splurge.

    Enjoy your dinner and your lovely company.

  2. I love the energy you infuse daily with your elegance and regard for celebrating at home. Wishing you a wonderful evening full of love.

  3. V-Day is also my husband’s birthday, and he wants to stay in and eat (in his words) “high-end comfort food”. I made turkey chili with accoutrements including creme fraiche, very sharp cheddar, and lightly limed avocado slices. A big salad and French vinaigrette was next, then came carrot cupcakes with one candle (over a certain age, you should light one very nice birthday candle) and a few sea salt caramels. Dressed up at home wearing nice clothes, eating comfort food made under the principle of “best in class” ingredients, and time spent on the sofa feeding each other a couple of chocolates is my way of spending V-day (and his birthday) in.

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